Ireland No II] DIALOGTJ BETWEEN A RADICAL NONCONFORMIST, JOHN AND A HOME RULER, WILLIAM. W. — It's all very well for you to argue, but there are three things I find in this question which will make me a Home Euler always. /.—What are they ? W. — Why, first, I can't see why, if the majority in Ireland want Home Eule, they shouldn't have it ; then, I think, that if we trust the people of England we oughtn't to refuse to trust the Irish ; and, lastly, I believe we must do justice to Ireland. J. — Well, let's try and go through some of your arguments. W. — All right. You won't, though, I suppose, want any argu- ments for my first reason, because you, as a Radical, surely believe in the right of the majority. J". — Certainly I do ; but then it all depends in what area you take your majority. If it is throughout the whole kingdom, why then its will must, of course, prevail. What I say is this. Don't apply your principle in little bits. There is no doubt but that the majority of people in the United Kingdom is naturally in sympathy with the Protestants of Ireland. Why, then, should they withhold that sympathy because the Protestants in Ireland are mixed up with a Catholic majority ? See how your principle applies if you work it out. I live in a division of an English county where there is a large Tory majority, and where the village parsons and the Primrose League are not inclined to show Eadical Dissenters like me very much consideration, and would like, if they had the chance, to do a great deal more to keep us in our proper places, as they call it. However, we can get on pretty well, because there are plenty of Liberals in the rest of England to look after our interests in Parliament. Don't you ( 2 ) think we should have a right to complain very bitterly if, instead of protecting us in our division, the rest of the Liberals in England were to say : u Oh, well, you must remember in North Loamshire you are in a minority, and the will of the majority must prevail. We are sorry to lose you, but we must part now, and we dare say the majority of Tories won't be quite so cruel to you as you might expect from their talk." PP. — Well, I suppose it would seem rather a shame, and, of course, we don't want to apply the principle to anything but nations and countries. J. — Ah ! is that so ? Then when Home Eule is given to Ireland, and Ulster demands Home Bule from Ireland, vou think Ulster ought to have it. IP". — Yes ; I suppose so. J. — But you know the Irish won't do this. They say they won't, and they mean it. IP. — Stop a minute ; now I come to think of it I believe the Irish might reasonably refuse the demand, because Ireland is cwie entire island, and that makes a great difference. J. — You would, then, as I understand it, only grant lie: Eule to an island, and never to a part of it ? PP.— Yes; that is it. jr — So you would refuse Home Eule to Scotland because i: is part of the island called Great Britain : but you would grant it to Bute, Anglesca, or the Isle of Wight '.' PP.— It's all very well to split hairs, but I Bay, then. I will only do it when the place isboUi an island and a count. • in race and creed as Ireland is. J. — But that is just what it is not. It has two races, two nations, two creeds within it, and is not nearly so united in population as, say, Scotland is. W. — I admit there are some difficulties, and I confess I don't quite see how to meet them. However, I really rest on this argument which is unanswerable. We trust the people of England ; why not trust the people of Ireland ? J. — Yes ; we do trust the people of England ; but that seems to me no reason why the people of England should trust the Iris-h to go alone. We trust them sufficiently, I contend, by allowing them to send their representatives to mix with ours ; but I think no one who knows the facts will trust them beyond this point. You can't entirely trust people who have been brutalised and demoralised, as so many of the Irish peasants have been, by tne most cruel and disastrous land system that any country was ever cursed with- — a system which, though Mr. Gladstone has done ( 3 ) much to remedy it, still remains far from perfect. Then, too, think of the difference in political training that the Englishman has had. He has learnt those splendid lessons of self-govern- ment, self-organisation, self-respect, courage, and independence which the Nonconformist Churches, to their eternal credit, have taught him. The Irishman instead has been held firm in the grip of the Eoman Church, which, whatever we may think of its doctrines, certainly renders men less fit to be true and capable citizens, and makes them of necessity narrow and intolerant. W. — Well, I never said that you could entirely trust the people of Ireland ; but, at any rate, we ought to do justice to Ireland. That I mean, and that I stick to. /. — Now, at last, you and I have got together. I want to see justice done to Ireland as much as you. W. — No ; you don't, for you won't grant Home Eule. J". — But why should you assume that is justice ? I don't think it is. I think it the height of injustice. Do you think it justice that the Catholic majority should have possession of the educa c - tion to the exclusion and the persecution of the Protestant minority ? W, — You make a terrible fuss about these Protestants, but you know they bullied and persecuted the Catholics when they had the power. J. — I know some of them did ; but, mind you, not the Dissenters (who were equally persecuted with the Catholics in old days), but the Irish Church, whose domination is now at an end. It was very bad of us to allow it, I admit, but the last of this has been stopped for fifteen years, and since then the English Government has held the balance quite impartially between Catholics and Protestants. That's what I call justice. It won't set the old persecution right to begin a new one, will it ? To let the Catholics have their turn, and to encourage them to take their revenge upon their old enemies, does not seem to me much like justice. W. — Oh, I dare say the religious question is difficult ; but I want justice for Ireland in the widest se»nse. J. — So do I. I want to see England act with vigour and justice and put a stop to Irish wrongs wherever they can be found. For instance, I believe we can find a peaceful solution of the Irish land troubles, and one which a Home Eule Parliament will never find. You want a strong Government to deal with the land system — a Government which will be obeyed by every one. But the Irish Government will be miserably weak. It will not be obeyed, and when Government is not obeyed you get a state of anarchy. Now, anarchy has one certain effect — misery, starva- tion, and every form of suffering for those who are weakest. I believe Home E ul in Ireland would mean a state of misery for ( 4 ) the peasants which could not be equalled in even the record of their sufferings. W. — But we should stop anarchy with English soldiers. J. — That, I believe, is just what you would not do. I don't think you would ever get English or Scotch soldiers to shoot down Irish Protestants, fighting as they would be for their lives and liberties. I know I would sooner die than do it, and so, I believe, would you when it came to the point. No ! I believe there might have been some truth about not getting justice for Ireland in the old Parliaments of landlords ; but it seems to me treason to Radi- cal principles to doubt that in a really democratic Parliament, such as, thank God ! we now have, Ireland would not meet with justice or perhaps with more than justice — with indulgence. I believe tins Parliament can be trusted to answer the appeal for vigour of Government in Ireland which Sidney Smith made nearly a hundred years ago. The appeal fell unanswered and unheeded on the ears of Mr. Percival and his Administration ; but it would not remain unanswered now. This is the vigour of Government we Radicals will apply to Ireland : " The vigour I love consists in finding out wherein subjects are aggrieved, in relieving them, in studying the temper and genius of a people, in consulting their prejudices, in selecting proper persons to lead and manage them, in the laborious, watchful, and difficult task of increasing public happiness by allaying each particular discontent.'' This Vigour, not HOME RULE, is the Remedy for IRISH WRONGS. Published by the Liberal Committee for the Maintenance of the Legislative Union between Great Britain and Ireland., 35, Spring Gardens, S.W.